Occasional Notes by Lü Wancun Printed at the Tian Gai Lou Workshop
The commentator of this civil-examination records collection, Lü Liuliang (formal name of Lü Wancun, 1629–83), was a native of Chongde, Zhejiang Province, who lived at the end of the Ming and the beginning of the Qing dynasty. His grandmother was a member of the Ming imperial family. At the age of eight he already wrote essays in the approved style. He achieved the ju ren degree but withdrew because of his opposition to the Manchu regime. He became a teacher and often added his comments to his students’ essays. His works of eight-legged essays (a style of essay writing that had to be mastered to pass the imperial examinations during the Ming and Qing dynasties) became popular among the literati in the early Qing. He was also a follower of Neo-Confucianism. He expressed views in his works about the official rankings given by the examiners, adding disparaging comments on barbarian rules in China. In one of his essays he charged that official corruption was the real reason for the failure of the civil examinations to accurately measure a person’s talent. After his death his anti-Manchu sentiments were revealed, which resulted in the exhumation and dismemberment of his and his son’s remains and the banishment of his grandson to the frontier of northern Manchuria. His writings were burned and 46 of his works were included in the official list of banned books. However, some of them survived and were reprinted in the later Qing dynasty. The Library of Congress has two different editions with this same title, but with different contents. This edition has 21 volumes, including the author’s notes up to 1672, originally entitled Tian gai lou guan lue (Brief commentaries from the Tian gai lou). It was supplemented by Chen Cong, with additional commentaries from the year of 1673. The records gathered in this collection were those of the metropolitan civil examinations and were selected and annotated by Lü Liuliang. The manuscript has three prefaces, written by Wu Zhizhen (dated 1672), Wu Eryao (1672), and Chen Cong (1675).
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Last updated: May 24, 2017